Tips on getting free boxes

A forum for questions and information about packing, loading and other helpful tips (not related to researching or selecting moving companies).
The Mister
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2007 3:07 pm
Location: Richmond, VA

Tips on getting free boxes

Postby The Mister » Fri May 11, 2007 8:18 am

Good morning.

I have done a bit of research into obtaining free boxes, and thought I would share my findings here. Feel free to copy into the "Packing and Loading Tips" sticky if you'd like.

Some of my info is specific to my location (Richmond, VA); but hopefully a few tips will come in handy nationwide.

The following is a list of places where I at least inquired about getting boxes. Basically I called every big box store (other than grocery) in the area:
  • Craigslist: One thing that I have found is that the demand for free boxes is typically much greater than the supply. At least in my area, there are few ads for "free boxes", and plenty of ads for "boxes wanted". I posted one such wanted ad, and about 5 days later got my only offer of 25 boxes, which was later rescinded because it turned out a friend wanted them. I also got a response from someone at http://www.usedcardboardboxes.com, but I can get new boxes for less than they offer used ones ($39 for a stack of 20 mediums). "The cheapest"? Yeah, right. Edited to add: I'll probably use Craigslist to give away our boxes in the end, though.
  • Linens -n- Things: This place has been the most helpful of all. They told me to call between 6 and 7 am on W&F and ask for the manager on duty. (Turns out I can talk to whoever answers.) They have come through four times so far, and each time I have come home with a carful of boxes (around 30), many different sizes. On one occasion I asked for more medium-size boxes if they had them, and they came through. Each time, they typically have two canvas bins full of boxes, some of which are not the best dimensions, but most of which work just fine. Edited to add: I should note that the boxes are typically ready around mid-day. I usually pick them up on my way home from work.
  • Sears: The one near me says they can have boxes at around 6pm on Wednesdays and Fridays, when they get their regular shipments. I took them up on the offer once, and got maybe 10 boxes. *shrug*
  • Burlington: I have not yet taken them up on their offer, but the one near me says they have a constant supply of boxes, and wouldn't divulge when they actually got their shipments in. They say they have a large storage area, so they can keep lots of stock and unload bit by bit as they sell their goods. They said to call anytime and let them know what size boxes and when we'd like to pick them up. I did attempt to take them up on the offer earlier this week, but it turns out they had just done inventory so all available boxes had been opened and crushed. They said try again next week.
  • Michael's: Said call 11:30am any Wednesday (otherwise they crush the boxes). They have a small storage area, so I'm not sure if they have room to keep them back there.
  • Target: Said to call early in the morning (crushed otherwise). They were a bit more vague, and I think I could have benefitted from talking to someone further up.
  • Walmart #1: I gave up on them. First time I spoke to someone, she said to come by between 10-11am any day and they would bring up boxes. I did so and was told that I was misinformed. Instead I should call around 10pm and ask the night stockers to reserve a few back in the layaway area. I tried that and the next morning they had about 15 boxes that were waaaaay too large or of inappropriate dimensions, and only about 5 that I could actually use. :roll:
  • Walmart #2: I called the other Walmart near us (this one a 24-hr location) and both of the people that I spoke with suggested showing up at around midnight and scavenging as the stockers do their thing. Forget it.
  • Lowe's / Home Depot: Their boxes tend to be way too big to use for moving HHG.
  • Sam's: One of the people I spoke to at Lowe's mentioned that she had worked at Sam's. She suggested that I try going to the Sam's bakery area and asking them to save back some of their boxes. I have not tried this yet.
  • Dillard's: Reuses their boxes.
  • JCPenney: Reuses.
  • Macy's: Reuses.
  • Kohl's: Crushes theirs, no questions asked.
  • Dick's Sporting Goods: Reuses.
  • Toys 'R' Us: Reuses.
  • TJMaxx: Crushes theirs, no questions asked.
  • Barnes & Noble: Reuses/Recycles.
  • Bed Bath & Banana - I mean Beyond: Crushes theirs, no questions asked.
  • Circuit City: Tried to speak to someone with more than 5 brain cells, failed miserably, then got transferred - back to the main menu. :roll:
  • Best Buy: Didn't bother, figured my experience would be similar to CC.
Most other supplies I actually had to pay for, of course. (Around $400-500 on bubble wrap, when all is said and done, and another $60 on packing & masking tape.)

And of course most cities mid-size and up have a selection of free papers that can be used as packing material. I've never had a problem with newsprint staining anything, though YMMV.

Feel free to post your suggestions / experiences in this thread as well.
Last edited by The Mister on Fri May 11, 2007 9:32 am, edited 2 times in total.

MusicMom
Posts: 19323
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2004 11:51 am
Location: DC Metro

Re: Tips on getting free boxes

Postby MusicMom » Fri May 11, 2007 9:16 am

VERY helpful, thank you!

To add, Borders will give out boxes after Tuesday delivery, a little after lunchtime. Call ahead to let the manager know you'd like some. May have to go back week after week.

Bed Bath, & Banana? Huh? Is there a story there?

The Mister
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2007 3:07 pm
Location: Richmond, VA

Re: Tips on getting free boxes

Postby The Mister » Fri May 11, 2007 9:34 am

MusicMom wrote:VERY helpful, thank you!

To add, Borders will give out boxes after Tuesday delivery, a little after lunchtime. Call ahead to let the manager know you'd like some. May have to go back week after week.
Yeah, if I had known that I wouldn't have gone ahead and bought the small boxes. No big loss, though.
Bed Bath, & Banana? Huh? Is there a story there?
Nope. Just random B-word association. :shrug:

Ruges
Posts: 437
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2005 10:41 pm

Re: Tips on getting free boxes

Postby Ruges » Fri May 11, 2007 1:09 pm

Just a thing to note if you are seeking used boxes and are having a company move you. Try and use mocing standard boxes (1.5, 2.0, 4.5, Dishpacks, Wardrobes) These boxes are all a standard size making them easier to stack squarly, making it so you have a less chance to crush. They also have a standard way of stacking inside a standard 102" trailer.

Also even if you are moving yourself using a standard box size will make it easier on yourself and prevent damage.
Ruges

Diane
Posts: 15824
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2003 12:18 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Tips on getting free boxes

Postby Diane » Fri May 11, 2007 1:18 pm

Fabulous post, Mister. I added it (and the replies) to the sticky thread as you suggested.

jeff1954
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 12:05 am

Re: Tips on getting free boxes

Postby jeff1954 » Sun Dec 21, 2008 12:34 am

Wow thanks for doing all that research for us. Great list I'm going to keep that sucker! :)

MikeLitt3810
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 11:29 pm
Location: Pittsburgh
Contact:

Re: Tips on getting free boxes

Postby MikeLitt3810 » Mon Dec 22, 2008 12:11 am

Ok, here is a good idea as well, when you call up a co. for an estimate usually the sales man will bring a handful of boxes to try to sweeten the deal on getting your buisness. Now if you call up every moving co in your area you will end up with a large ammount of boxes.

Just hide the boxes from the last sales man.

When you aquire boxes from stores. they come in all sizes and shapes. do yourself and the movers a favor do not over pack a box. keep the weight to something a person could handle. rember someone has to carry these boxes.. :)
I'm not here to rant about the Co. I work for, I'm not looking for side jobs, I have been in the buisness for about 15 yrs, and If you seriously need help you can e mail me and I'll try to get back to you asap.

Ohio 7
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 2:30 pm
Location: Woodbridge, VA

Re: Tips on getting free boxes

Postby Ohio 7 » Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:46 pm

I liked the suggestions and I might add that most liquor stores will gladly give you their boxes. A good size for emptying drawers and they are strong to hold all those big type bottles.

cyberwip
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2010 3:49 pm
Location: North Vancouver

Re: Tips on getting free boxes

Postby cyberwip » Fri Jan 01, 2010 4:03 pm

Although that list is somewhat local it does give a lot of good ideas of where to look.

Vancouver movers should check out [link clipped] for some excellent tips on where to look for free moving supplies.

I tried CraigsList and didn't get a single response (maybe because of your post) but when I called manufacturers in the area they were dying for someone to take away their boxes.

Liquor store boxes are excellent for glassware since many of them already come with dividers.

BigLeeCalif
Posts: 4665
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2003 5:59 pm
Location: Escondido, California

Re: Tips on getting free boxes

Postby BigLeeCalif » Sat Jan 02, 2010 6:26 am

Mike, don't you think your approach is a bit dishonest?

We normally give away a starter kit to those people who do book their job, not everyone who just gets an estimate. Even though we get the cartons at wholesale, it doesn't mean that a company can afford to give them away to everyone requesting an esitmate.

To the others, obtaining cartons at those places indicated may be well and ok if you plan to do a do it yourself move, but remember if you plan to use a full service company, a lot of those boxes are tested at a lessor weight bursting point than moving industry cartons, and many won't take the weight of carton stacking, especially the sizes larger than the standard book carton.

The first choice should always be to find free moving boxes, as was suggested on Craigslist. Remember that moving boxes are very sturdy, and are designed to be reused a couple of times, if packed and broken down correctly.
"It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt" Mark Twain

Movinghelper
Posts: 1867
Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2009 6:00 pm
Location: Panama City Florida
Contact:

Re: Tips on getting free boxes

Postby Movinghelper » Mon Jan 04, 2010 10:13 pm

One more great place for Boxes:
Your local Hospitals and Dialysis centers in your town. They have a lot of boxes which are great strength.
For more information on moving or to file a complaint go to http://www.protectyourmove.gov

1..NEVER PAY A MOVER A DEPOSIT FOR INTERSTATE MOVING! IT COULD BE THE START OF THE BIG SCAM
2. GO WITH IN HOME ESTIMATES ONLY.
3. DO NOT USE A BROKER.

TootsieWootsie
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri May 07, 2010 8:13 pm
Location: Quad Cities, Illinois-Iowa border

Try your local hardware stores!

Postby TootsieWootsie » Mon May 24, 2010 8:37 am

I've had total luck at my local True Value Hardware store. It's the only one I've tried, but they have had so many of the right size that I haven't had to go anywhere else. And my local store is one of the best, most helpful stores I've ever used...I'm lucky I guess. Too bad I'm leaving the area. :D

Fred0844

Re: Tips on getting free boxes

Postby Fred0844 » Tue May 25, 2010 3:21 am

http://www.moishesboxexchange.com/
Here is an interesting approach to getting and getting rid off moving cartons

Movinghelper
Posts: 1867
Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2009 6:00 pm
Location: Panama City Florida
Contact:

Re: Tips on getting free boxes

Postby Movinghelper » Tue May 25, 2010 9:28 am

This is also one of the moving companies:
I looked them up, there seems to be some years missing for whatever reason.


Name : MOISHE'S MOVING SYSTEMS, LLC.
USDOT Number : 587098
MC # : 237817

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Address : 227 COLES STREET
JERSEY CITY, NJ 07310

http://newyork.citysearch.com/review/61 ... d=53993881
Worst movers ever!
by amlaw at Citysearch
Moishe's is the worst moving company!
First I set up an appointment for someone to come to my apartment and give me an estimate for my move. The estimate ended up being about $1500 less than I ended up paying. Then the guy who came to do the estimate started texting my cell phone (which I had to provide on the application I filled out) and asking me out.
On the day of my move, the movers showed up 4 hours late and started loading my belongings into a Ryder truck with no Moishe's logo anywhere.
They did not finish loading my belongings on the truck until 11pm and then told me I had to accept delivery at my new apartment building at midnight. I explained that I would not be able to have movers come in at midnight, and I had to call some shady supervisor on his cell phone who argued with me, and then finally offered me the option of storing the truck overnight for a fee of $250, and having the movers arrive with my belongings at 9am the next morning. I had no choice but to accept that option.
The next day I waited and waited, and the movers finally showed up with my belongings but a completely different crew at 1pm. When they unpacked my furniture my very expensive dresser was gouged on the top, and my mattress had been folded up and was permanently misshapen.
When I showed the gouge to the head of the crew, he told me that I should call the office and let them know and they would send a carpenter to fix it. I called several times but was never able to get anyone on the phone and did not receive any calls back.
They didn't finish unloading my belongs until 6pm and then I had to sit with the head of the crew for 2 hours while he calculated the amount I owed based on his markings on a scrap of paper. The crew had all gone downstairs, or so I thought, until one of them who was missing several teeth, all of sudden came out of the bathroom where he had apparently been for at least a half hour.
When all was said and done, my dresser was gouged, my mattress was damaged, and two boxes of my clothes disappeared, and it all cost me approximately over $2200.
Moishe's is a shady, unscrupulous rip-off and I hope their website with all of the positive reviews doesn't fool you into using them.
Pros: None
Cons: Unprofessional, damaged belongings, shady billing
For more information on moving or to file a complaint go to http://www.protectyourmove.gov

1..NEVER PAY A MOVER A DEPOSIT FOR INTERSTATE MOVING! IT COULD BE THE START OF THE BIG SCAM
2. GO WITH IN HOME ESTIMATES ONLY.
3. DO NOT USE A BROKER.

Fred0844

Re: Tips on getting free boxes

Postby Fred0844 » Tue May 25, 2010 5:25 pm

I wasn't commenting about the company, the box exchange concept is interesting. Every major mover has knowledge of inbound shipments which wil have people that want to dispose of their packing material in an eco-friendly way.


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